shaefins
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Pressure canning vs. water bath canning - the basics, please

Can someone give me the 5 second breakdown of pressure canning vs. water bath canning? Trying to determine which I should invest in. TIA! :D

LindsayArthurRTR
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Both :()

Pressure canners use high steam pressure to increase the boiling point of water. I believe up to 240 F. The temperature is maintained for a specific amount of time at a specific pressure ( 5,10 or 15 lbs) in order to kill food spoiling microbes. You can "raw pack" or "hot pack" vegetables, meats and fish using a pressure canner. Really you can pressure can anything you want.

Boiling water canners use boiling water to heat the jars enough to create a nagative pressure in the jars when they cool after boiling temp is reached. Only acidic foods, jams and jellies, and pickles are appropriate for this type of canning. The acidity in the food is an inhibitor to food spoiling microbes.

A word about sterility...

I sterilize jars in my dishwasher and I keep them screaming hot until I fill them. Lids need to be sterilized too. When using a boiling water canner it is extremely important to maintain sterility. I can't stress this enough.

Also with both types of canning, follow recipes exactly. ESPECIALLY boiling water canner recipes. And, always allow for the appropriate headspace.
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jal_ut
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Boiling water bath canners may be used for high acid foods. You cannot do non acid food in them. Pressure canners are used for canning non acid foods.

Here is the reason: Botulism spores will not grow and produce toxins in an acid environment. The boiling water bath method does not kill botulism spores but since they will not grow in an acid environment, it is safe to can acid products in the boiling water bath canner.

The higher heat and proper time in the pressure canner will kill all living organisms and the spores of botulism. So it is safe to can non acid foods in the pressure canner. You can do vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans and also meats.

It is not necessary to sterilize your bottles for either method. The heat of processing does that for you. It is also not necessary to sterilize the lids. You don't even need to put them in hot water as the directions say on the package. They will seal just fine coming right out of the box, and the heat of processing sterilizes everything, lid, bottle, and food. The one exception is if you are going to bottle jelly without processing it afterwards. I highly recommend processing jellies too.
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LindsayArthurRTR
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It is not necessary to sterilize your bottles for either method. The heat of processing does that for you.
I disagree :) jars of tomatoes and pickles only process for a few minutes in a water canner. I highly suggest sterilization of jars before canning in a hot water canner. Botulism is no laughing matter! Why take chances. Every book i've ever read about boiling water canning suggests to sterilize jars and lids prior to processing. I feel it is neccessary to sterilize when using a boiling water canner.
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Ozark Lady
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If you can only afford to buy one.
Buy the pressure canner.
They are large enough and deep enough, to do double duty as a water bath canner. You just don't close it down and add the gauge. But, you can still boil water deeply enough to cover the jars.

So, you can do boiling water bath canning in the pressure canner.
You can not pressure can in the boiling water canner.
If I could only get one, I would get the pressure canner!
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Speaking as a *very* experienced hot-water-bath canner and *somewhat* experienced pressure canner, I second what Ozark Lady has said:

If you have the money to purchase only one canner, go for the pressure canner. It will do both kinds of work.

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shaefins
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OK, I don't feel as bad for being confused, as it seems there really are different schools of thought when it comes to canning! :lol:

I like Ozark Lady's multi-tasking idea. Off to search for a reasonably priced pressure canner. Thanks, everyone!

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For hot water bath canning, all you need, really is a deep enough pot, isn't it?
I've been using my stock pots for taller jars (I'm only canning up to pint jars) and stew pots for shorter jars. I have an extra deep stock pot in the garage that I can use for the quart jars if I ever want to can them. I do make sure there's something on the bottom so the jars aren't in direct contact while the top of the lids are sufficiently submerged. Jar lifter and canning funnel are definitely recommended, though I've been managing without the magnetic lid doo-dad.

I'm saving up for a pressure canner. I kind of want the higher-end machined one without the gasket that folks were raving over last year, though I do see the other one ... Presto? ... under $100 everywhere to tempt me....

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Yes, any pot large enough to hold the jars and get the water a full 2-3 inches over the top will work.
Sometimes, in a pinch I will use screw bands on the bottom of a tall soup pot to use all the burners on my stove.
I found my pressure canner, brand new, at a yard sale for $10.00 and it works great.
Seems folks buy things like that and never get around to use them.
Kind of like me and my Jet Stream Oven that I have never used. :oops:
Or my cookie baker, or , or, oh my I need to have a yard sale!
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jal_ut
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Posted: 07 02 10 Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
It is not necessary to sterilize your bottles for either method. The heat of processing does that for you.


I disagree jars of tomatoes and pickles only process for a few minutes in a water canner. I highly suggest sterilization of jars before canning in a hot water canner. Botulism is no laughing matter! Why take chances.
Quoting from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 354 "Boiling jars or presterilization is unneccessary. Heat processing destroys any microorganisms, not only in the food but also in the containers and closures. " End Quote.

As I previously said, botulism is not a problem with acid foods. You only do acid type foods in a water bath canner. What you are concerned with is bacteria, molds and yeast. All of these will be destroyed in the "few" minutes of processing. If you are using approved and tested recipes these times are correct and adequate. Your acid content will be high enough. It is not a guessing matter, the recipes have been tested by scientists to assure your safety.

Also I suggest you contact your extension service to get the current recommendation of times for tomatoes.

Happy canning!
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Gary350
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You can water bath can just about anything only difference is water bath boils at 212 deg F at sea level whole pressure canning gets about 30 degrees hotter.

If you want bath can it has to cook double the time of pressure canning.

You may loose several jars of corn if you water bath can. Pressure canning is always best for corn.

Food stays good for 5 to 7 years in jars. It is best to eat it within 4 years because it changes color with age and then people tend not to want to eat it if it looks weird. Bright red tomatoes turn a little brown at 6 years. A 1/2 teaspoon of salt in each pint will maintain the color much longer.

I never sterilize my jars or lids. I can beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, berries, jam, juice, fruit. I rinse my jars in hot tap water and let them drain on a clean towel. I use the lids right out of the box. Jars get sterilized in the water bath or pressure cooker when the vegatables are canned. I have learned several short cuts that save me a lot of time with no bad side effects.
Last edited by Gary350 on Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

LindsayArthurRTR
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jal_ut wrote:
Posted: 07 02 10 Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
It is not necessary to sterilize your bottles for either method. The heat of processing does that for you.


I disagree jars of tomatoes and pickles only process for a few minutes in a water canner. I highly suggest sterilization of jars before canning in a hot water canner. Botulism is no laughing matter! Why take chances.
Quoting from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 354 "Boiling jars or presterilization is unneccessary. Heat processing destroys any microorganisms, not only in the food but also in the containers and closures. " End Quote.

As I previously said, botulism is not a problem with acid foods. You only do acid type foods in a water bath canner. What you are concerned with is bacteria, molds and yeast. All of these will be destroyed in the "few" minutes of processing. If you are using approved and tested recipes these times are correct and adequate. Your acid content will be high enough. It is not a guessing matter, the recipes have been tested by scientists to assure your safety.

Also I suggest you contact your extension service to get the current recommendation of times for tomatoes.

Happy canning!
Weeeeelllll... here are some folks that disagree :)
Jar Preparation
Wash the jars , lids, and bands in hot, soapy water; rinse and drain. Fill the canner with water and place the jars in the rack. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and keep jars hot until you're ready to fill them. Put the flat lids in a saucepan and cover with water; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Reduce heat and keep them hot until you're ready to use them.
that was from this site [url]https://southernfood.about.com/od/canning/qt/canning-jars.htm[/url]

here's more;

All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile empty jars.
that was from this site:

[url]https://www.doityourself.com/stry/jarsandlids[/url]

Step 4
Heat the jars and bands. Time this so that the jars are hot when you are ready to fill them. If you have an automatic dishwasher, run the jars and bands through it so they will be steaming hot when you need them.

Step 5
Boil the jars if you do not have a dishwasher. Put the jars in the canning pot, fill the pot 2 inches above the tops of the jars and set it on high heat. Once the water starts boiling, leave the jars for 10 to 15 minutes before you fill them with food. Take the jars directly from the boiling water.
Wash jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well. Dry bands; set aside. Jars and lids must be preheated and kept hot until they are used. To preheat jars and lids, completely submerge them in water that has been brought to a simmer (about 180°F). They should remain at this temperature until they are used, removing one at a time as needed. DO NOT boil lids. If jars are used for any recipe that is processed less than 10 minutes, the jar must be sterilized. To sterilize jars, submerge jars in water and boil 10 minutes. (For altitudes higher than 1,000 feet above seal level, refer to Canning Basics.) Allow sterilized jars to remain at a simmering temperature until they are used.
This last one actually came from Ball's website at:

[url]https://www.freshpreserving.com/pages/faq/42.php[/url]

Sooooo...Jal, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree about technique ;) (but neener-neener anyway ;) :> )

When canning tomatoes by themselves, it is recommended that acid should be added to lower the pH level. This can be done by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint of product. For quarts, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid. This may be done by adding directly to jars before filling. If this is done you can can tomatoes using Boiling water canner :() If you don't want to do that, I suggest pressure canning.
I DO process my tomatoes for more than a few minutes...however, LOTS of recipes don't call for all that time, most pickles and relishes and jams and jellies call for less than 10 minute processing time.
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applestar
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I added naturally brewed organic red wine vinegar (Eden Foods) when I was out of lemons and they turned out REALLY yummy! :()

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jal_ut
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Sooooo...Jal, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree about technique (but neener-neener anyway )
I am all for anything that makes the process easier or faster, as long as it is safe. I did not come up with this stuff by myself. Our Extension Service had a Master Preserver Class (six full days) taught by a professor of USU (a scientist). He has been heavily involved in testing recipes and procedures.

From this class we learned that it is not necessary to sterilize bottles. In fact it is not necessary to even warm them up as many books will tell you. We fill them at room temperature with hot or cold product, and fill with the boiling syrup when that is the recipe. We have never had a bottle crack when filling them. Those mason jars are tough. Yes, now and then one will burst in the cooker, but I don't think that is a problem caused by not having them warmed up when filling. We also learned it is not necessary to soak the lids in hot water. At least one other person has agreed with me on that.

Aside from that, may I say I started home canning in 1961. I had a large family and we often bottled 800 to 1000 jars a year. I know that doesn't make me an expert, but I am not the new kid on the block either. (Ya, that kinda makes me an old timer. )

I will say again, contact your Extension Service for questions. They usually have very knowelable people there, and good written information too. You really should get their word on this stuff and not trust anything you read on an internet forum when it comes to your health and safety.
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LindsayArthurRTR
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I will say again, contact your Extension Service for questions. They usually have very knowelable people there, and good written information too. You really should get their word on this stuff and not trust anything you read on an internet forum when it comes to your health and safety.
Agreed! :D
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With regard to canning tomatoes and tomato products, again check with a local authority (e.g., Extension Service). Traditionally, tomatoes were considered a "high acid" food; however, many modern breeds/varieties of tomato ("modern" in this sense being from the '70s onward, I believe) are less acid and may not be safe without additional precautions.

Check first rather than regret later.

Cynthia

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jal_ut
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I DO process my tomatoes for more than a few minutes...however, LOTS of recipes don't call for all that time, most pickles and relishes and jams and jellies call for less than 10 minute processing time.
The recommended times for tomatoes changed a few years back. I don't remember for sure when that was. Any recipes that were around before that time would have shorter times than what is recommended today. The reason for the change had something to do with the new varieties of tomato not having as high an acid content and further testing showed the need for longer times. The recommendation for adding citric acid or lemon juice came along at the same time.

Any way, I would get current information for canning tomatoes. Buy a new Blue Book, or see your Extension Service.
You can also contact Ball at 1 800 240 3340 for questions or recipes.
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jal_ut
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[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/tomato_times.jpg[/img]

This is a pic of a document that is available at our extension. It gives the times for tomatoes at our elevation. Handy to have so we don't forget to add time for the elevation. They have lots of other helpful info.
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